Reader Question: I have heard that I should always have a witness in the room with me when I am conducting an employee performance meeting/warning. Is this true and what are the benefits?
– HR Manager, Medical Supply Company
Having a witness present can help you and your firm insure that the outcome of that meeting is accurately recorded and reflected. Specifically, all too many lawsuits and government audits emanate from the one-on-one meeting whereby the employee says one thing about the content and the manager tells a different story entirely. How do we know who is telling the truth? We don’t — but we certainly would know more about it if a witness was present. Witnesses should be members of HR or peers to the manager. They need not participate verbally, instead just watching and noting what is being said. A written debrief by them could also prove valuable.